D-backs' Collmenter expanding pitching repertoire

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By Natalie Rivers By Natalie Rivers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Josh Collmenter baffled hitters last season with his unconventional, over-the-top delivery en route to becoming a vital piece of the Arizona Diamondbacks' NL West championship team.

The concern with a pitcher like Collmenter, who relies on deception, is that once hitters have faced him a few times, they will be able to make adjustments. That's why he's adding to his pitching repertoire.

"We get to see the hitters more and they see us and make adjustments," Collmenter said. "For me, the big thing was to put together my third pitch. I really worked on my curve ball. Just to be able to have sequences with three pitches instead of two, where it is a lot easier for them to guess fastball or change-up. If you throw another one in there you can do more things. Maybe set up a hitter for a certain pitch. You can throw them a pitch they are not used to seeing."

Collmenter compiled a 10-10 record with a 3.38 ERA during his rookie season. His deceptive motion confused hitters so much that the 6-foot-3 Collmenter established a franchise record by not allowing a run in his first 15 innings as a starter and also set a Diamondbacks rookie mark with 24 scoreless innings from April 24 to May 24.

"It was a little bit of a surprise, even to me, but I had some success and didn't want to shy away from what I did," Collmenter said. "It is kind of the natural way I throw the ball. The deception, the angles and having success early on in my minor league career was key because, if you are struggling, the first thing they are going to change is what is different from everyone else."

If for some reason Collmenter cannot duplicate his rookie season and falters, the Diamondbacks have some options with two top prospects, right-hander Trevor Bauer and left-hander Tyler Skaggs, waiting for their opportunity.

Collmenter will get the start Saturday when a Diamondbacks split squad plays at the San Francisco Giants.

Bauer, a former standout at UCLA, will start Saturday during a Diamondbacks split squad game with the Colorado Rockies.

Skaggs was scheduled to start but will be scratched because of tenderness in his left shoulder. He will throw a bullpen session Sunday.